|Country or region||Australia|
Auskick started as a national program in Australia to develop and promote participation in Australian rules football by children. It has proven to be popular with both boys and girls. It is now employed in many countries across the world as a strong vehicle for introducing young people to Australian Football. Auskick is known as Kiwikick in New Zealand, Footywild in the South Africa and as Eurokick in Europe.
The program was devised in 1988 and began in Victoria — the traditional home of the sport — under the name Vickick. It was supported by the Australian Football League, the national professional competition for the sport, which began to roll it out nationally.
Under current corporate sponsorship rights (as of 2005) the program is officially named NAB AFL Auskick and is sponsored by the National Australia Bank, while previous sponsors include Simpson, a whitegoods company and, even earlier, fast food giant McDonald's.
Auskick is a national football coaching network, with clinics held weekly (usually on Saturday mornings) run by volunteers. The program attracts over 100,000 primary school aged participants annually and, as such, is the largest grassroots sporting association of its kind in Australia. Auskick's effort to involve children in AFL could be a determinant in the fact that 65% of high school students consider it in their top 3 favorite sports.
Each Auskick session consists of a training session and a game, with the emphasis on developing skills rather than the game result. Some of the major rule differences from Australian rules football are a ban on tackling and the restriction of players to their zone of the field, similar to netball.
The AFL is a major supporter of Auskick and star players occasionally assist in training events. The AFL also invites various branches of the Auskick network to play short games during the half-time breaks of premiership season games at all grounds, with numerous matches played on modified fields simultaneously.
In 2007 the program's slogan was "Where Champions Begin", with Jo Silvagni (wife of former AFL player Stephen Silvagni) and Robert DiPierdomenico, the 1986 co-Brownlow Medallist as the main ambassadors. They also used the kick-to-kick tradition as part of their promotional television campaign, which shows kids from around the country kicking the football to each other to the tune of Gimme Dat Ding.
Parents' role in Auskick
Parents are involved across the board in activities such as at skills sessions, as coaches and supervisors, administrators, helpers, coordinators and first aid officers. Throughout the year, there are parent orientation courses as well as coaching courses.
Auskick in non-traditional Australian rules football regions
The AFL has used the Auskick program the introduce Australian rules football into schools and communities around the country to increase the AFL's profile in areas that traditionally support other football codes such as New South Wales and Queensland.
The AFL have been accused of exaggerating their participation figures in their attempts to gain access to Sydney playing fields. Vast increases in AFL participation figures in Sydney were questioned by David Lawson, a Melbourne University academic, in a study commission by the AFL itself. His study found that AFL club participation rates in Sydney had stalled, and that the AFL was masking low figures by using short term, non-club affiliated Auskick participants and comparing them to competitive junior club participation numbers in other sports.